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My ex won't sign the divorce papers. What do I do?

Santa Clara, CA |

My case has gone through all the steps except the last one - judgement. Now I am unable to further retain my lawyer, but my divorce is not finalized because my ex won't sign the papers. What do I do?

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Attorney answers 3


My first response is traditional legal style; most courthouses in larger counties have a self-help desk or office at the county seat. If you cannot get your old lawyer back or afford a new one, you may try that as a resource. I believe this link is to the Santa Clara self help office:

My second response here is as a mediator. As a professional mediator, my question is:

Why has he suddenly become uncooperative?

Without knowing more information, I will offer the following possibility as an alternative solution. If you have a somewhat decent relationship with him, try talking to him about his refusal to move forward. Most often there is a huge emotional shift that comes with signing those last papers. It's one thing to move through the process but it's an entirely different matter when it comes to pulling the trigger and saying goodbye.

If you don't have a great relationship but you are, at a minimum, on speaking terms then try finding a mediator in Santa Clara county who is experienced in divorce mediation. It will be less expensive than an attorney and it may help "un-stick" him from his uncooperative state. It also may not end up requiring an new attorney if you come up with a settlement

I hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the thumbs up (helpful) tab below. Thank you.

This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.


It's impossible to tell without reviewing the papers. You should do everything you can to renew your relationship with your attorney or another local divorce attorney.


I believe you are suggesting that your spouse will not sign a settlement? Well then, the next step should be mediation -- because other than that, you are facing a trial. You need to see this through with your attorney, or another attorney.

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